WILKES-BARRE — A transformer failure left thousands of PPL Electric Utilities customers without power in the city and neighboring Plains Township on Tuesday afternoon.
“We had a problem at a substation on River Street, and it resulted in an outage between 1 and 1:30 p.m.,” PPL spokesman Rich Beasley said.
About 6,000 customers were without power during the height of the incident, Beasley said. According to PPL’s website, about 3,700 of the affected customers were in Plains, with the balance in Wilkes-Barre.
Neighbors in the area of Union Street reported a loud bang in the area of a transformer. Beasley said the noise was not an explosion, but the sound a transformer makes when it is tripped.
“Nothing exploded,” he said.
Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney said the department initially was dispatched at 1:03 p.m. to 345 N. Pennsylvania Ave., where they arrived to find PPL crews at work fixing a problem on a power pole.
At 1:33 p.m., the fire department was dispatched to a second call, at 345 N. River St., where the top of another power pole was arcing and caught fire after a small explosion, Delaney said.
Fire crews shut down traffic on North River Street until PPL could address the problem, the chief said.
There were no reports of outage-related incidents, Delaney added, although the power failure did set off fire alarms in buildings around the affected area.
The Luzerne County Courthouse was not directly affected, but the power failure also shut down traffic lights in much of the city’s North End and Plains during the early afternoon, including at the busy North River and West North streets intersection nearby.